Friday, November 11, 2011

Hymn for the Heart!

I have hummed these words to myself on many occasions during my time in Vermont so far. Everyday I am adapting and learning to deal with the many challenges that come with being a first year teacher far away from familiarity in this mountainous and cold Arctic land. The seemingly daunting challenges of the classroom and everyday life will continue to occur and winter will soon be here in all it's glory. I continue to wonder what God has in store for my future and sometimes cannot fathom how things work out the way they do. For now, until the curve balls of life settle in the dust, all I need to do is simply trust and obey!

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Flight of the Butterfly(s)!

Today was super cool! My good friend Temple came down for the day and agreed to run this race with me. I heard about it about a month ago and saw that it was a "costume race." We thought it would be fun to dress up but I am not sure we actually thought we would at first. After brainstorming for a bit we decided to dress like butterflies! It was soooo fun! How can you NOT have fun when you have brightly colored wings on your back and glitter on your face? My training has been minimal thanks to my busy teaching schedule but I managed to do pretty well. I figured Temple and I were just following Andrew Fisher's famous philosophy and pre race strategy of 'rest and relaxation':-)

Today's race was a first in many categories for me! It was the first time I have ever stopped taking my running seriously enough to dress up! It was also the first time I have ever run a race with snow on the ground! It was really fun to see all the other costumed runners. There was a fairy, a, pumpkin, a bumble bee, a cop, and other strange costumes that required much self interpretation. At the end they called out everyone to pick a raffle prize out of a large bag. Since Temple and I were the 2ND and 3rd people to register we got to pick 2ND and 3rd out of the bag! We both scored an awesome winter skull cap plus a couple other things at the end when they had extra just laying around! Overall the race was a nice change of know flying instead of running :-)

How else do you finish a race with wings on ? :-)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October Snow!!

Saw my first New England snow flakes today and threw my first New England snowball! I also broke my record for the earliest I have ever seen snow in my entire life! I guess when you have lived in the south your entire life its not unusual :-)It may not be much but its still exciting and even better it is officially Christmas music season!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Character Building

Dealt with this scenario recently. Glad there are more better days then bad!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Identity Crisis

Me-"Esther please turn around and pay attention to class."

Esther-"my name is not Esther!"

Me very confused - "oh well what is it then?"


Me-"OK so what name do you want me to call you then?"

Esther-"call me Esther! "

alrighty then kiddo, Esther it is...

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Very interesting thought.....

"Being strong doesn't mean you have to feel strong inside. In fact, being strong means admitting when you don't feel it. God is our strength and He can walk us through any memory, any raw emotion, any deep scar. They are not to be feared, because He has them in His hands." Christi Armstrong

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sodom Pond 4 Mile Run

Well I checked something else off of my to-do list yesterday. I ran my first race in Vermont! The run went well and it was a great way to see what kind of shape I was in. The course was a 4 mile dirt road loop around a pond in the VERY country town of Admant, Vermont. The route had nice rolling hills and gave runners a magnificnent tour of country farms and pastures, showed glimpses of the rapidly changing fall foliage happening in the woods, and ran runners past intricate mazes of maple syrup tubing intertwined throughout roadside maple groves. There were only 30 runners in the field but it was neat to find out later that a former Female World Champion Ironman was in the pack! It was a very low key race. With only a $5 entry fee there were no t-shirts but i really liked how I got to choose a prize for my finish position instead of getting another plastic trophy! After the awards ceremony the club invited runners to partake of FREE pasta and garlic bread! It was delicious and getting to talk to some of the different runners really allowed me to experience the true culture of being in Vermont. Yep, a 4 mile run, 2.5 pounds of honey, free supper, and being introduced to some really cool Vermonters was an awesome way to end a Wednesday!

A glimpse of the fun!

Part of the race course.....

The prizes I had to choose from! Some were more tempting then others....

The obvious best choice! 2.5 pounds of Vermont honey!

Free food!!!!!

Post race treat to myself! Amazing gelato!

Good Wednesday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Exploring Nature

*names have been changed*

A couple days ago it was a beautiful sunny day so I took my K-3 PE class outside to run a few laps around the parking lot to warm up for class. I learned a little bit about the level of focus kids that age have.

"Alright kids when I say go I want you to walk, jog, or run around the parking lot 4 times."

"Okay, Miss Marlier!"

"Ready, GO!"

Running running, walking, walking, jog, jog......"No kids go AROUND the parking lot not through the middle"

After about 2 laps the kids start walking more to catch their breath. Meanwhile I spot Leroy and Joe* digging around in one of the flower beds in the middle of the parking lot.

"Hey boys, what are you doing?"

"Look, its a Caterpillar!!"

"Wow that is great, why don't you let me hold him and you finish warming up, OKAY?"

"Okay, Miss, run, walk, jog, jog, stop at a different flower bed"

"Did you find another Caterpillar, Joe?"

Leroy responds, "I think Joe wants to explore nature instead of run today"

Yes Leroy I think you are right.

Ahhh nature!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No laughing matter!

One thing I was taught when becoming a "real" teacher was that it is never good to laugh at your students when they are performing a task incorrectly or poorly....or both. Sometimes I have a hard time with that concept. Today for example my students where performing a 5 minute jump rope test. I had to turn around several time to keep from laughing at the very interesting and inefficient technique that both of these big bad macho guys were using to!
Anyways now I know what we need to practice more often....jump roping coordination and maybe keeping a straight face :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Weekend!

When I moved to Vermont I came totally expecting to experience my first real winter. I know that fun surprise is still coming in a couple months but one thing I never thought I would have to deal with when coming to the Northeast was hurricanes!

This weekend hurricane now tropical storm Irene, decided to make me feel like I right back at home in Florida where hurricanes are a normal part of life. How considerate of her. A little wind and rain is fine but I was totally bummed out when I got an email from the race director of the Race to the Top of Vermont (running up Mt. Mansfield, VT's highest peak) on Thursday evening saying they had decided to move the race I was entered in from Sunday to Saturday to avoid having to cancel it all together. I understand the reasoning behind it but it was still really disappointing to find that out.

Even though the weather changed my plans to run up Vermont's highest mountain on Sunday it at least opened the opportunity to spend part of the weekend with my good friend and fellow Vermonter, Temple! After church on Sabbath we went on a nice hike up a mountain called Camels Hump. It was a great climb with amazing 360 views of the NY Adirondacks and Lake Champlain, Mt. Mansfield, and Canada. The hike was followed by a terrifically fun evening in Burlington eating good food followed by delicious Ben and Jerry's ice cream and finding dirt cheap books at a Borders bookstore that was closing down! 50-70% off of everything in the store!

It's now Sunday afternoon and the supposed "hurricane" is currently dumping lots of wind and rain which makes for great weather to get all my last minute school preparation done! I am looking forward to my first year of teaching. Preparing for this year has at times felt like riding out a hurricane. It's come with its ups and downs, "floods" of emotions and stress, anxiety over not really knowing if the teaching strategies and techniques I have learned in college will actually work with my students. Thank goodness I won't be weathering this first year teacher storm or any storm for that matter by myself! I am reminded that as long as I keep Jesus as the captain of my vessel I can smile at any storm I may encounter this year. So with that said, bring on the new school year and may God be with me every single step of the way!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bienvenue au Vermont!

Vermont is a neat place! I have been here about a week now and already I can tell I will never be able to run all the amazing trails that are around here! For now I am living in a farm house about 15 minutes from school in a small country town called Graniteville. I love living in the country and have plenty of company around here in the form of 4 horses, 10 hens, 8 Long-haired Chihuahuas,and too many cats :-)
If you didn't guess by the name, Vermont has a ton of granite! In fact this area is the granite capital of the world! So if you ever need nice rocks come on up for a visit! Speaking of amazing trails I discovered that my back yard is home to miles and miles of awesome snowmobile paths that just so happen to be very easy to get turned around on. Getting lost is part of the adventure Right?! I love how quaint it is here. Small general stores all over the place, gardens, bike paths, and parks galore!

School preparation is going pretty well! I still have lots of work to get done before school starts August 29 but I can see the light at the end of summers tunnel! The classes I will be teaching are small but I am looking forward to teaching a Vermont worthy curriculum, especially in PE! Teacher dedication was this last Sabbath at church which was really special. After church I met Gary, a very accomplished 82 year old marathon runner! It was really neat to hear some of his stories and experiences! I will do my best to write more about him later!

I am really excited to see what adventures God has in store for me in my first year of teaching! I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous or scared about being somewhere completely new and outside of my comfort zone, let alone being responsible
for helping to mold something of pretty high value; a child's education! Thankfully though I serve a pretty awesome God who knows just how to cure an apprehensive mind!
I pray that I will always seek HIS strength and wisdom and allow HIM to work through me each and every day, through the good times and the bad!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Psalms 37

I have really come to appreciate the gift we as human beings have to incorporate the beauty of music into worship. Although I don't consider myself musically "in tune" whatsoever I love, love LOVE the pure simplicity and wonderfulness of singing a sacred hymn or scripture song with a group or by myself whether that be on top of a mountain, in the car, or anywhere where I can be in the presence of God. Since I don't read music I am very often attracted to a particular song because of the tune or beat. Besides singing the words of a hymn I think one can get a blessing out of a song by simply reading the words to a song or scripture verse. Because of a SONS OF KORAH scripture song (Psalms 37, Shine like the dawn), there is one particular Psalm I have really come to like. I listened to this song over and over because of the catchy tune but then stopped one day and read the actual verses in the bible and it made what I was listening to all the more meaningful! Psalms 37:1-6 states:

1 Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

I was browsing around looking for more meaning behind this particular section of Psalms 37 and found this websites dissection of Psalms 37 Interpret it as you may.

Q: In Ps 37:3-5, what is the difference between trusting in the Lord, delighting in the Lord, and committing your way to the Lord?
A: We are to do all three, but sometimes believers do only one or two.
Trusting in the Lord means to have faith to believe what He says, the peace to know that you are in God's hand, and the courage to stand for what is right and against what is wrong. It does not necessarily mean you have any joy in the Lord or that you are trying to please and obey Him. Psalm 62 is a beautiful description of trusting in the Lord.
Delighting in the Lord means that your life is one of rejoicing with praise to God. It does not necessarily mean you know Him deeply or obey Him very well.
Committing your way to the Lord means to follow what God says and not do what God forbids, to have an attitude of obedience. Obedience can be only out of duty, and not necessarily out of much love or springing from faith.
Each one is important for us to do, without neglecting the others

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Numbers

2 months in the Northeast

31.5 miles. One trail run. One day.

10 ADK high peaks hiked (so far) 17 total. 29 left to go!

4 visits to Donnalees icecream shop!

Hundreds of campers in 3 weeks.

Thousands of miles driven and thousands to go.

2 bouts of being a rodeo clown.

80 miles biking around a lake.

5 Sabbaths in a row in 5 different states (TN, FL, ME, VT, NY).

?? times to take on or off the pool covers.

4 days of honor cabin in one week!

(ish) miles running to tupper lake.

14 blue monkeys hidden around camp via 1 SP treasure hunt!

2 sunrise wakeboard sessions.

Thousands of smiles :-)

Countless memories!

40 days of prayer.

1 mighty awesome God to serve=one great summer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good Quote

Stole this quote from a friend. Something that was good to read and even better to remember!

“When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.” - Barbara J. Winter

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Just another run in the woods........

In the past I have always thought Memorial day weekend was supposed to be a time for relaxing at the beach with friends and family or perhaps cooking big franks and veggies over the grill while enjoying an extra long weekend of rest and restoration. This year however I had a change of heart. Instead of kicking back and enjoying an extra ice cream cone and lounging out in the sun I did the next most sensible thing. I ran my 2nd ultra marathon! I ran my first "ultra" (any footrace over 26.2 miles) back in December and had such a fun time, even after tripping over countless rocks, I thought it would be fun to run another extra long distance race. My training for this race wasn't as thorough as it could of been and I didn't officially sign up for it until about a month ago but regardless it was still a fun day of running!

The Pineland farms running festival on Sunday followed a fun weekend of fellowship with friends old and new in Maine. Andrew Whitlow (who ran the 50 mile run!) and I left from Camp Cherokee on Friday and arrived at the Gerrans house that evening after a long drive through beautiful country roads that included a flood detour and a quick stop at the race course in the dark. Sabbath was a big blessing as we attended church and met many new friends and saw many old friends as well. After a delicious potluck, a van load of us headed over to the Maine coast to tour through a few old war forts and walked a litle on the beach. It was neat to see several seals out fishing, some very close to shore! We closed out the Sabbath by heading over to some one's house for more good carbo loading food and worship! I managed to make it to bed by about 10:00 pm and slept all night long without the usual tossing and turning that tends to come the night before a big race.

I was glad for a good night of rest because race day Sunday started out super early with a wake up at 4:15 am to make it to the race at 5:00 am to beat the crowds at the bib number pickup tent. After picking up my sweet shirt and number I headed back to the car to pack the rest of my drop bag and try to stay off my feet as much as possible before the 50k race started at 8:00 am. I watched the start and the first part of the 50 mile race which started at 6:00 am. It amazed me how fast the lead runners were going so early in the race. Before I knew it race time had arrived and I was off and running to the sound of cowbells, cheering spectators and a list of people to pray for at each kilometer. For me, writing up a prayer list before big races is a tradition that really helps keep the race in perspective and allows me to focus on something other then how I am feeling. Remembering those who helped me get to this point makes it worth getting to each new mile!

The course was a challenging one with an endless variety of rolling hills, lots of grassy fields, and nice x-country ski trails. Although it was challenging the landscape was beautiful! The route also had lots of switch backs so running 2 loops wasn't boring at all.

I was grateful for nice cool weather to start the race I just wish it would of stuck around the rest of the day. I made the classic mistake of going out to fast which really affected me in the second loop. I got pulled into a group of very chatty and interesting guys who were all local Maine-iacs. The pace felt pretty comfortable but I didn't do to much talking during the 20kms or so that I hung with them. The first half of the race went by very quickly yet by the end of the first loop I could feel my legs starting to get a little tight.

I was also very thankful for the abundance of aid stations throughout the race course because after the sun came out it got warmer and more humid and was more of a challenge to stay hydrated. The aid station workers were really fantastic and did a great job of keeping up with the steady flow of runners from the 50 mile, 50k, and 25k races all running through at the same time. I skipped the first few AS's because I had my own water but before too long the bowls of gummy bears and the fruit on the tables became to much for me to resist and I grabbed a handful to get some quick sugar in my system!

As the rest of the race progressed my legs got more and more tight and the cytomax drink that was being served at the AS's really started to disagree with my stomach. The mental aspect of long distance running that everyone talks about, kicked into high gear soon into the second loop. I walked up several of the big hills during the second loop of the course and through the AS's as well. The last five miles were basically a countdown of kilometers and just trying to put one foot in front of the other as best as I could. I ran along with many encouraging and motivating runners who really helped me to keep plugging away at my goal to finish the race and have a fun experience! The slew of 25kers and slower 50 mile runners ahead of me really helped give me something to focus on as well.

Finally I passed through the last aid station ran, around one last field, crossed over the road and heard a choir of cowbells which meant the finish line was nearing! I managed to find one last burst of energy and picked up my knees higher then I had all day! I crossed the line after 4 hours and 42 minutes of excitement! I said a prayer of thanks to God for giving me the strength and safety to finish!

I collected my prized brown cowbell and FREE Merrel socks then SLOWLY walked to the water tent and poured ice water on my head. I eventually hobbled to my car to get dry clothes to change into. After the 50k race awards ceremony I tried to guess where Andrew would be along the course so I could cheer him on some more. The workers at the last aid stations didn't know if they had seen him or not so I sat near the finish line and before too long I saw him approaching the end! After the race we sat around and chatted with other finishers testing out our cowbells and swapping stories of our race experiences that day.

Later that evening we headed over to the Howe's house for supper and socializing which was a great way to wrap up a long, exhausting day! While watching the sun set over the Maine coast that evening I couldn't help but think how blessed I am. Have I mentioned how grateful I am for the ability to run? God is so gooood! To him be the glory! Can't wait for another run in the woods!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Nana passed away today. Nana wasn't my "real" grandma but after my grandma died last year she officially adopted me as one of her own “kids” even though she already held a special place in my heart long before that. Nana was one of the sweetest, kindest, caring, most sincere, loving, saintly women I have ever met. She always had a smile on her face and it always seemed like she was laughing about something especially when Timothy George was around :-)

That was the Nana I knew. Happy, with a heart full of Christ centered love. I loved watching her interact with young and old alike at potlucks, social functions, and at the Ellers home when Shama and Phoebe would bring a car load or two of friends down to Georgia for the weekend. When she wasn't giving someone wise advice she sometimes sat quietly and observed. That’s how I think she got to know us the best.

Nana was always one of my favorite people to sit next to at SAU orchestra concerts and Friday night hymn sings. Nana had the right idea when she would simply close her eyes and listen to the music around her. Nana always requested the most amazing hymns when it was her turn to pick and would also contribute beautifully with her voice or with her amazing piano playing ability. Nana always supported us crazy college kids in any way she could, even those who she only knew for a short time. The thing that meant the most to me was that I always knew she was praying for us!

Nana was a great cheerleader. Even though she couldn't physically run trail races or triathlons with me she would always wish me luck, say an extra prayer, and call me crazy :-) Nana was on my prayer list while I was running my first ultra marathon back in December.

Nana will be sorely missed by me and everyone that was fortunate enough to have been around her. The world won't be the same without her but I am reassured, when I remember that Jesus is coming soon! If there was a heaven on earth, nana would already be there. I can't wait for the day when I can give her a big hug and find something to laugh and smile about. That first Friday night hymn sing will be the best ever and maybe, just maybe, I will have ability to play the piano like Nana. Better yet I think I will just listen :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Running with the Flu

Well yesterday was a milestone race for me. It was the first race that I have run where I felt totally miserable before running. I woke up about every hour until about 4 am the night before throwing up and such but was was finally able to sleep until 8 am or so after that. I knew I had the Southern 6 trail run and I had been looking forward to this race for a long time. I went back and forth on if I should run or not but didn't make up my mind until eleven or so. It must of been a sudden surge of new found energy or perhaps it was the thought that I would be letting $30 go to waste if I didn't run.

I gathered my stuff, ate a tiny breakfast of toast and apple juice being thankful that it was willing to stay inside of me, and drove over to Southern. Once I got to the check in tent I debated one last time if I should run and alas I ignored my churning stomach and picked up my packet! I felt a bit better once it was time to start the race but I soon realized that it was purely pre race excitement. The starting siren went off and we headed for the woods!

To make a long story about running with the flu short, I gradually began to slow down with every step I took. I was in the lead of the women's pack for more then half the race but it felt like I was running in slow motion and that my feet were made of iron. It was so strange to get passed by so many people. The hills and trails that I almost effortlessly ran up a few days before felt steeper then ever! I tried to make my feet move faster but in the end I just ran slower, haha. I ended up finishing 3rd for the women, I was just glad to finish. I felt like I missed out on alot of the race atmosphere because I felt so icky. Anyways I stuck around long enough to collect my hand held water bottles (for finishing 3rd) and to take a few pictures with the winners. It was interesting to see how much I could push myself to run when I was not feeling my best. I am not sure I would run another race again if I had the flu, it was not really worth it. I am glad God gave me the strength to finish and that I am feeling better today!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Waiting Game

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.

Sometimes life can feel like this. Following GOD'S plan for my life is definitely worth two marshmallows!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ripples and Waves

"Throw a pebble into the lake, and a wave is formed, and another and another; and as they increase, the circle widens, until it reaches the very shore. So with our influence. Beyond our knowledge or control it tells upon others in blessing or in cursing. " --Christ's Object Lessons P. 340